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Thirty-four countries, including U.S. and Israel, boycott UN commemoration of anti-Semitic Durban conference

South Africa's President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the opening ceremony of the Durban conference, as part of the UN General Assembly 76th session, Sept. 22, 2021. (Photo: screenshot)

Thirty-four countries, including the United States and Israel, publicly boycotted the United Nation’s 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban on Wednesday due to the anti-Semitic nature and anti-Israel bias that marked the original conference in 2001. 

The list of countries boycotting the controversial event is dominated by Western democracies including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Hungary and Colombia. 

In a tweet, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he was grateful to the boycotting countries for their support. 

“Thank you to everyone who enlisted in a focused and successful diplomatic operation,” he wrote. 

In a statement, Israel’s Foreign Ministry placed the original “anti-racism” conference in the South African city of Durban in a historical context. 

“The original Durban Conference, a UN-hosted event, became the worst international manifestation of anti-Semitism since WWII. Inflammatory speeches, discriminatory texts, and a pro-Hitler march that took place outside the halls were only part of the ugliness displayed in 2001. The ‘World Conference on Racism’ actually ended up encouraging it, including through the parallel NGO forum, which displayed caricatures of Jews with hooked noses and fangs dripping with blood, clutching money,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said

Campaigns to boycott and demonize the Jewish state continue but Israel has managed to overcome them.

“Israel is a thriving state that is increasing its cooperation with countries in the region and will continue to do so,” the Foreign Ministry pointed out.

The UN was established by 51 countries in 1945 after the Second World War. The original member states were mainly democracies but over time, despotic and autocratic governments joined and came to dominate the UN. Now the organization is being used as a cynical political tool, obsessed with demonizing and condemning the Jewish state. 

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, yet the Jewish state has been condemned in UN votes far more than Iran, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, North Korea and China combined – all of whom have been accused of systematic human rights violations. 

In 2020, the UN condemned Israel 17 times compared to only six times for all countries combined. During the period of June 2006 to June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 135 resolutions criticizing different countries worldwide, 68 of these resolutions – more than 50% – were directed against the Jewish state. 

In 1975, the UN passed an infamous resolution equating Zionism with racism. While this resolution was formally revoked in 1991, it seems to have paved the path for condemnation votes against Israel and events like the Durban Conference in 2001, which encouraged anti-Jewish sentiments that are still alive in 2021. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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